Sucker Punch Finding Ways To Utilize Full PS4 RAM – Hardware Utilization Can be Improved

Fahad Arif
Posted 3 years ago

A couple of weeks ago we published an article showing how the American video game developer Sucker Punch Productions managed to create a highly impressive PlayStation 4 exclusive video game title known as inFamous: Second Son. Here are some more details on how PlayStation 4’s hardware is utilized for creating awesome games such as inFamous: Second Son itself.

Sucker Punch Production Finding Ways To Utilize Full PS4 RAM – CPU is Already at Maximum Utilization but Improvements are Possible

Out on shelves last month, inFamous Second Son is the one PlayStation 4 open world action-adventure game that truly gives a next-gen feel to the players. This is undoubtedly because of the constant hard work and struggle of Sucker Punch Productions.

Since the release of inFamous Second Son, Sucker Punch Productions has, at various events, demonstrated how the game works and utilizes PlayStation 4’s every bit of available hardware potential. The developer explained in detail at Game Developers Conference 2014 about how inFamous Second Son tickled PlayStation 4’s limited amount of RAM, CPU and GPU to become the top PlayStation 4 game.


Sucker Punch Productions’ Lead Engine Programmer Adam Bentley revealed many useful and time worthy details and information about inFamous Second Son PlayStation 4 hardware utilization during  a panel that was held at Game Developers Conference 2014 last month and was titled “inFAMOUS: Second Son Engine Postmortem.”

Today, some notes of the newer version of the slides were published by Sucker Punch Productions’ Adam Bently revealing some very interesting information on how PlayStation 4 hardware coordinates and how the developer is working to optimize it for their games. Below are the main points of the notes arranged by DualShockers.

  • The game has very large draw calls and object counts, but it wasn’t a problem.
  • Having enough memory is “incredibly helpful” to make working on the game faster and simpler.
  • The team came “close to the limit” of memory usage, but there are hundreds of MB of leeway left. They’re still coming up with useful ways to use the memory available on the console.
  • The jobs are much more complex than they were in the previous inFAMOUS games.
  • The CPU of the PS4 worked pretty well, but it’s still one of the main bottlenecks. It’s also less easy to optimize.
  • There’s room for improvement in the job system using the CPU’s multiple threads and in other areas
  • Material properties are stored in up to 8 gbuffers (5-6 plus depth/stencil), with 41 bytes written per pixel. That translates to 85 MB for full screen buffers. Bentley’s comment is that it’s “good that the PS4 has a huge amount of fast RAM.”
  •  Seattle is often overcast, so indirect diffuse lighting was very important, and ended up a bigger deal visually than initially thought. Lightmaps were considered, but discarded because they would have taken 12 MB per block just for the UVs, without even considering textures.
  • Seattle is also often wet, so indirect specular lighting was just as important. Specular probes are 256×256 pixels and there are up to 256 of them at any given time. That’s roughly 175 MB of RAM used.
  • The compute shader size for particles can be over 15 MB of loaded data in memory.
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